By Karin A. Nisenbaum

Kant and Fichte are both rigorists with regard to the duty of truthfulness: they believe that lying is wrong in any circumstance and the duty of truthfulness does not admit of exceptions.  However, in this paper I argue that their tendency towards rigorism stems from different commitments.  Kant’s rigorism goes hand-in-hand with his egalitarianism; by contrast, Fichte’s rigorism goes hand-in-hand with his perfectionism.  This difference has important implications for how we deal with evil: far from leaving us “powerless in the face of evil,” Fichte’s uncompromising defense of the duty of truthfulness aims to get to the root of evil.